Nas' New Record Label Will Thrust Him Into the Spotlight, Where He Belongs

Life is good for rapper Nas. Fresh off commemorating the 20th anniversary of his classic Illmatic album, Nas has announced plans to launch his own record label. Through this yet-to-come Mass Appeal Records, he will be able to release his own music once he fulfills his Def Jam contract, set to expire at the end of this year. Will this finally be the move that propels Nas' career toward the mainstream heights of some of his hip-hop counterparts?

Despite being a respected veteran in the hip-hop game, Nas has yet to reap the benefits his influence warrants. For instance, we've yet to see him all in the videos like Puff Daddy, or attach his name to a bunch of products, become besties with MTV, get involved with a presidential campaign, or launch a TV network.

Even after setting aside his longstanding beef with Jay Z, Nas still hasn't seen the success of his former foe-turned-boss, whose influence in the hip-hop world served as a springboard for endorsements with a popular alcohol brand, a successful clothing line, an expansion into sports management and even a bromance with President Obama. He's been in the rap game long before a couple of 2013's wealthiest rappers, but his name is noticeably missing from the list.

However, Nas has made some significant moves beyond the booth. Among them are his partnership with Hennessey, and a sneaker endorsement with Fil-A. Plus, Mass Appeal also serves as the title for a culture publication he had a hand in relaunching last year.

About the label, Nas tells Billboard:

I'm excited to be a part of creating and supporting future careers and legacy artists, promoting love and finding new genius to help the world. I'm going to be as involved as I need to be, but I also want to be respectful of the art and give artists the space they need to grow and become themselves.

Hopefully, this move will put him right up there on the map, where he rightfully belongs. It's about time Nas receives his just due, which extends far beyond one mic.